This afternoon we went swimming in a pool. It wasn’t a particularly hot day, but warm enough for a dip. And the pool in questions wasn’t ours, nor was it a community pool. It was our neighbours pool, who had allowed us to use it while they were away.
This is not the first invite we have received to use a neighbour’s pool in their absence. The neighbours behind us did the same thing.
This generosity and openness are something we had never experienced before moving to Brisbane. And, I suspect, its not something that is practised everywhere in this city.
Yet, in our part of the inner north, that community spirit seems pretty solid (there are exceptions thought).
Pondering this brings me back to my childhood and, in fact, my adult experiences of community.
It also brought to front of mind the works of Alfred Alder as part of his ‘Individual Psychology”, don’t let the name foul you though, his work was more about society than it was about the individual. His work discussed, among many things, the notion of community feeling.
I’ve lived in many different towns and cities throughout out my life and had many different neighbours.
Some, I knew quite well and are still friends with. Others, well, I had no idea who they were because I never saw them!
I was hoping by pondering this, that some clear patterns will emerge. But, alas, there aren’t any.
In some cases, the strong sense of community came from the places that were the most remote. In other cases, it came from shared interests or having the same job.
As for places with no sense of community, well, those places didn’t really feel like home (for anyone really), these were places that were not really remote or extreme.
It would seem, to some point, that a strong sense of community is forged through a common struggle. Be it environmental, geographical, cultural or financial. Where there is struggle, more often then not there is a sense of community.
However, this is also another factor that plays a big part in community.
As an observation, it seems that where there are happy people there is a strong community. It would also seem that where everyone is working, there is also a sense of community.
So, maybe, its more to do with the people and how they see life in general. Maybe, it’s about hope. Maybe, it’s about purpose. Maybe, it’s about hard work. Maybe, it’s all these things.
Whatever it is that creates the community feeling, we need more of it. Not because I need more pools to swim, I have those coming out the wazoo!
Instead, we need to be rebuilding that community feeling.
We need to be putting the interest of the community above our own and acting in a way that benefits others more than ourselves.
Yes, we can build ourselves a nice big pool, but then share with others………. not me though, I already have three to swim in (yes, I’m gloating!!!)!
A strong sense of community is refreshing and provides a comforting level of understanding in the community.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t have things for ourselves; after all, I’d be reluctant to share my donuts…. or gin…. and most certainly wont share my wife, but I don’t thing we live in that type of community!!!!
Nevertheless, I don’t think it would hurt many people to read up a bit on good ol’ Alfred’s work and put some of it into practise. We might even end up with a better planet as a result.
And if you think having a better planet is a big leap in the conversation, then you definitely need to read some of Alfred Alder’s work!
Whichever way you look at it, there are benefits for all here, including being able to go for a swim in the pool!
‘til next time….. Cheers!